Something to smile about

As 2018 comes to a close, we’re looking back on moments that made children smile.

A baby smiles, Ethiopia
21 December 2018
Smiling is contagious! And these happy children from around the world are sure to put a smile on your face. Find out what's making them smile this year:
A boy holds race cars, Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Mohammad Rifat and his friends race toy cars down a sandy stretch of trail in Shamlapur refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Since an outbreak of violence began in August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have sought refuge in Bangladesh. More than half of them are children.


A boy is weighed in a bucket, Central African Republic
UNICEF/UN0248775/Le Du

Central African Republic: Pierre is a picture of health – but back in July, he was on the brink of death. Ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic has made finding food a daily struggle for Pierre’s family. Fearing for his son’s life, Pierre’s father, Prosper, walked 12 km to the nearest health centre. With the help of around the clock care, Pierre got a little stronger each day. After a month in the outpatient feeding programme, Pierre has bounced back and is smiling again.


A baby girl smiles, Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: This little baby is SO happy after receiving her polio vaccination and vitamin A supplements in Côte d'Ivoire. We’re happy she’s vaccinated too and we’re closer than ever to a world without polio. Since 1988, wild polio cases have been reduced by over 99% – down to a historic low of just 22 cases in 2017.


Two teenage girls smile widely, Djibouti

Djibouti: These girls are all smiles at a life skills training! The UNICEF-supported programme teaches young people skills like critical thinking, negotiation and decision making to boost their self-esteem and empower them to take responsibility for making healthier choices and resisting negative pressures.


A child hugs a sanitation kit, Ecuador
UNICEF/UN0253257/Moreno Gonzalez

Ecuador: Aranza Benavente travelled with her mother from Venezuela to the Ecuadorian city of Ibarra. She plays in a UNICEF-supported Child Friendly Space in Rumichaca, on the Ecuadorian side of the border with Colombia, while her mother waits for one of her relatives to send her money to continue their trip. Aranza is also clutching a sanitation kit distributed by UNICEF as part of its regional response to support children and families from Venezuela.


A baby smiles, Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Eden Aregawi is in a playful mood during a breastfeeding celebration event in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. UNICEF recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life to promote sensory and cognitive development, and to protect babies against infectious and chronic diseases. We work with partners to call on donors, policy makers and civil society to increase investment in breastfeeding worldwide.


A baby smiles next to her birth certificate, Ghana

Ghana: Two-month-old Elrom looks very happy with her birth registration in Accra. Nearly 30% of children under the age of five in Ghana are not registered. A birth certificate will make sure Elrom is recognized by her government and secures her basic rights, including medical treatment, schooling, and a passport.


A girl smiles in front of a tent, Indonesia

Indonesia: Ence, 6, is receiving support from UNICEF after her home was destroyed by the September tsunami in Indonesia. We’re also making sure children can keep learning while schools are repaired, so they can get their lives back on track for a better future.


A boy in a winter hat smiles, Iraq

Iraq: This little one is wrapped up for the winter at a UNICEF-supported camp for Syrian refugees. We’re working to reach more than 10,000 Syrian refugee children in Iraq with warm clothes and winter supplies. With harsh weather approaching, every minute counts.


Children run in a group, Lebanon

Lebanon: Syrian children play in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Close to one million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon – the equivalent to nearly one quarter of the country's total population before the Syrian conflict began. The surge has taxed local resources, particularly schools, and has affected both refugee children and Lebanese students. UNICEF works with the Ministry of Education to promote free access to quality education for all children in Lebanon.


A doctor checks a baby's ear, Syria

Syria: Three-month-old Fatima gets a check up in a UNICEF-supported mobile clinic. Mobile clinics and health workers are providing displaced children and their mothers with health care services and lifesaving nutrition. Between January and October 2018, we provided micronutrients to nearly 1.9 million children and pregnant and lactating mothers in Syria.